Did you know that there are three types of hypertension? Even though it seems obvious to some extent once you read this, there is no distinction made by many doctors or studies.
In The New York Times, “Keeping Blood Pressure Under Check” written by Jane E. Brody on January 28, 2013 we learn that there are three underlying causes or “mechanisms” for hypertension (which is another way of saying high blood pressure). No yoga research study that I have seen makes a distinction of underlying causes. Studies just state “hypertension” or “high blood pressure”. After learning this new information from the excellent Times article, it makes sense that yoga therapy may be more effective with one underlying cause more than with the others and it is important to know the cause, or the combination of causes, to determine the effectiveness.
According to the article there are 76 million people in the U.S. who suffer from hypertension. A normal blood pressure range is generally from 90 over 60 to 120 over 80. More than 50 percent of those who suffer from high blood pressure do not have it under control.
Of particular interest is what Dr. Samuel J. Mann, a hypertension specialist and professor of clinical medicine at Weill-Cornell Medical College, has to say, ” Of the 71 percent of people with hypertension who are currently being treated, too many are taking the wrong drugs or the wrong dosages of the right ones.”
Dr. Mann, is the author of Hypertension and You: Old Drugs, New Drugs, and the Right Drugs for Your High Blood Pressure.
Here is a direct passage from the article:
The trick to prescribing the best treatment for each patient is to first determine which of three mechanisms, or combination of mechanisms, is responsible for a patient’s hypertension, he said.
¶ Salt-sensitive hypertension, more common in older people and African-Americans, responds well to diuretics and calcium channel blockers.
¶ Hypertension driven by the kidney hormone renin responds best to ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers, as well as direct renin inhibitors and beta-blockers.
¶ Neurogenic hypertension is a product of the sympathetic nervous system and is best treated with beta-blockers, alpha-blockers and drugs like clonidine.
According to Dr. Mann, neurogenic hypertension results from repressed emotions. He has found that many patients with it suffered trauma early in life or abuse. They seem calm and content on the surface but continually suppress their distress, he said.
It is the last one, neurogenic hypertension, that is the most likely to respond to yoga therapy. Yoga works directly on the sympathetic nervous system.